Has ‘children’s mass’ become a colossal mistake?

I learnt rubrics from my mother. I doubt she ever heard of that word. The word rubric comes from the Latin word for red and in the Catholic Church forms the norms for various liturgical instructions. My mother taught me when to stand, sit, kneel or genuflect at mass. 

She also taught me faith. At the Epiclesis, the invocation of the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine during the Eucharistic prayer she would glance at us to make sure we had our hands joined and would remind us at the  time of elevation to say,” My Lord and my God.”

My father taught me charity. We were by no means a wealthy family. We were taught to live within our means yet when it came to giving to God my father never skinched, in fact I dare say he was the charity commissioner and he certainly made sure his left hand did not know what his right was giving. At every Sunday mass he gave each of us a five rupee or a ten rupee note to drop in the offertory box. In those days that was quite a king’s ransom for a kid like me.

I learnt all this because the ones who guided my feet to the Lord were my parents and they did this both at home and at mass. We went to Church as a family, came back as a family, to a family breakfast and then our treat was to watch ‘Magic Lamp’ on Doordarshan.  My Catechesis took place in school both in St Mary’s and St Stanislaus, at the hands of great Jesuits like Joe Aran and Peter Ribes; I never once went to catechism class in Church till I had to receive confirmation. That’s when family mass ended for us.

Today for pastoral reasons we have ‘children’s mass’ and this is followed or preceded by catechism class also known as Sunday School. The children’s mass is meant to be a mass where the liturgy is ‘child friendly’. At these masses the children sing in the choir or are lectors. Though liturgically not permitted, some parishes enact the Gospel or have a skit to make the liturgy easier on the senses. While I am part of the system, this simply does not sit well with me anymore.

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